HomeNewsBriefPeru Breaks Up Colombia Money Laundering Ring
BRIEF

Peru Breaks Up Colombia Money Laundering Ring

MONEY LAUNDERING / 1 JUL 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Peruvian authorities have dismantled a Colombian money laundering network that allegedly moved $10 million per month through illegal loans, raising the question of why Colombians have chosen to use Peru to run these types of criminal operations.

A Peruvian woman and 16 Colombians operating in Lima, Huancayo and Iquitos were arrested, and three buildings, ten vehicles, firearms, money and computers confiscated from the group, reported La Republica

According to Public Ministry officials, the group used social networking sites to launder funds of illicit origin by offering immediate loans of up to $25,000 with no guarantee. After granting the loan, the network charged monthly interest rates of between 40 to 60 percent and in some cases kidnapped debtors who defaulted, forcing their family members to sell off whatever they could in order to pay back the loan.

According to news site Peru.com, the Huancayo-based members were called "Los Armenios de Colombia" (the Armenians of Colombia) and simultaneously worked selling fruit and pastries.

InSight Crime Analysis

Peru's apparently lax money laundering controls may help to explain why a Colombian gang chose to use the country as its operational base. Despite the implementation of a national plan to combat money laundering, the government reported in 2012 that the country had not achieved any convictions for money laundering, and that of around 120 cases investigated, only four had resulted in judicial proceedings. In June, Peruvian authorities reported a rise in money laundering through small businesses, with official data indicating that 3.5 percent of annual GDP may be the product of illicit funds. Police corruption exacerbates the situation -- as of June, 900 police were under investigation in Peru for complicity in crimes including money laundering and kidnapping.

One interesting question is how the Colombians were able to operate without being pushed out by Peruvian gangs. The majority of Peruvian gang members -- over 12,000 of 13,000 -- are believed to be concentrated in Lima, according to one report, possibly leaving the Huancayo and Iquitos markets open for control.

The case illustrates how the internet helps to facilitate illicit financial activities, providing a largely unregulated platform for the transfer of funds, and provides an example of the increasingly diverse ways organized criminals are using social media, a topic examined by InSight Crime last month.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 17 MAY 2016

A recording implicating Peru's presidential front-runner Keiko Fujimori in a massive money laundering operation could be fact or fiction, but…

PERU / 8 DEC 2011

One faction of Peruvian guerrilla group the Shining Path has issued a call for dialogue with the government, but the…

MEXICO / 20 JUL 2012

The Mexican branch of British-based bank HSBC will close about 20,000 accounts in the Cayman Islands believed to have links…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…